Media Release

Innovative NDIS Employment Program opens its doors in the Illawarra

The Illawarra community will be the recipients of an innovative new employment program to help NDIS participants transition into open employment.

The NDIS customised employment program will be delivered by Workways Australia across the Illawarra; the only region in Eastern Australia who will have access to the program.

Customised employment utilises a portion of NDIS funding to provide 150 hours of individual employment support, so participants can gain important work experience and transition into open employment or start their own business during the program.

Already trialled successfully in Western Australia, customised employment has a high success rate of over 80%, with participants utilising their experience to gain permanent roles or start successful micro enterprises.

Justine Leonard of Workways Australia, will be leading the program and is excited about the opportunities this approach will present, “Every Australian should have the right to work and provide value to an organisation and their community.

“This model is highly effective as it allows the participant time to explore their possible vocational paths and demonstrate their skills in the local community.

“We work with our NDIS participants to identify their vocational themes and match work experience to those themes. If the participant is seeking to start their own micro business, we also provide the right support to help them develop a business plan and bring their ideas to life.” said Justine.

Workways are trialling peer to peer mentoring, where people with lived experiences of disability can be paid to support younger people with a disability and help grow confidence and build community linkages.

In addition, NDIS participants will have access to skills development mentoring where they can access mentors who are available to teach talents and skills in chosen vocations that will help participants prepare for employment.

“We’re actively seeking interested people who may wish to participate as mentors, and also encourage local businesses to contact us to find out more about how they would be supported to provide work experience to NDIS participants.” said Justine.

“Practicing diversity in employment practices can be hugely rewarding for many businesses, and is also an important economic development initiative for the local community.”

Marcus Peace is employed as a receptionist at Workways Australia in Corrimal. He identifies as having an intellectual disability, and wishes he had access to this program to find open employment as a young man leaving high school. “I believe this is a great opportunity for people like me to gain work experience and become established in a supportive business or start my own business.

“I’m really excited to be working for a provider who is willing to try different employment supports and can’t wait to meet other NDIS participants”

Community members who are eligible for NDIS funding and would like to access this program, can contact Workways Australia for further information.


About Workways Australia

Workways Australia Ltd is a high performing, not for profit organisation that has successfully delivered employment, youth and community services for nearly 30 years. As a business with over 260 staff and 72 offices across four states and territories, Workways enables people from every background to participate in the workforce.